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Sticky subject: Is Hockey actually our national game?

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By Dhairya Kapur

Indian Women’s Hockey team recently made history by qualifying for their first Olympic semi-finals at Tokyo in August this year. It has always been a matter of pride for all Indians as Hockey was believed to be our national game and it has brought many awards and accolades to the history of our nation. But a few years ago, the reply that a 10-year-old girl received from the Prime Minister’s Office regarding her RTI query asking “When did the Government of India notify hockey as a national game?” had shocked many.  

The ten-year-old girl Aishwarya Parashar in her RTI query had asked the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) when the Government of India had notified hockey as a national game.  To this query SPS Tomar, Under Secretary, Union Ministry of Youth Affairs had replied that India has not notified any national game as such.

“I haven’t come across any official order or notification in the ministry saying that hockey is our national game. It is known to be a national game in general parlance,” Tomar has stated in a report published in India Today in 2012.

https://www.indiatoday.in/sports/other-sports/story/hockey-not-our-national-game-sports-ministry-rti-query-112067-2012-08-02 )

In the same report, Aishwarya had said: “I had asked the government when hockey was notified as national game? The question assumes significance in the backdrop of the fact that we have been learning since Class I that hockey is our national game. We attach this game with our nationalism and take pride in the fact that Indian hockey team has been the most successful in the history of Olympics. We have won numerous gold medals at the Olympics in the past.”

In January last year, a similar RTI reply was reported in Business Standard that was attributed to PTI which also confirms the above assertion.
https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/govt-has-not-declared-any-sport-as-national-game-rti-reply-120021301479_1.html).

 The report says that the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has confirmed that the Centre has not declared any sport as the ‘national game’ of the country. This was a reply to an RTI query filed by a school teacher from Dhule district of Maharashtra on January 15, 2020.

The statement from the ministry says, “The government has not declared any sport/game as the National Game of the country, as the objective of the government is to encourage/promote all popular sports disciplines.”

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